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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Book Talk => Topic started by: Melissa K on November 22, 2017, 08:42 PM

Title: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: Melissa K on November 22, 2017, 08:42 PM
My dad loves reading biographies of famous historical figures from US history. I was browsing his shelves the other day, and it hit me that he reads almost exclusively about white guys--Washington, Jefferson, etc. For Christmas this year, I thought I might buy him a biography of a really amazing woman or person of color. But I'm not much of a biography reader, so I thought I'd ask you all for recommendations. Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony come to mind as possible subjects, but I could branch out if anybody has other thoughts.

My dad really responds to elegant (and in my opinion, sort of purple) language in the books he reads. Whatever I buy, I have to stay away from clunky prose or he'll put it down and drift on to something else. Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: Barbara Etlin on November 22, 2017, 10:20 PM
It's YA and illustrated and poetry, but well written and very interesting:

BECOMING BILLIE HOLIDAY by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. by Floyd Cooper

And I can't recommend anything, but you could look for a good biography of Duke Ellington.

Oh, I just remembered reading this one, LOUIS ARMSTRONG: AN EXTRAVAGANT LIFE by Laurence Bergreen.
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: JodyJS on November 23, 2017, 05:01 AM
What about HIDDEN FIGURES? I haven't read it, though.

Just found this: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/must-read-biographies-about-incredible-women_us_56d58b71e4b0871f60eca295
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: Schriscoe on November 23, 2017, 05:48 AM
What about Maya Angelou?
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on November 24, 2017, 09:20 PM
What about Maya Angelou?

Love her. I bet there are a bunch on sports' figures. Having Our Say by the Delaney Sisters was good too. Think about the other things he likes and look for bios in that area.
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: annemleone on November 25, 2017, 05:07 AM
The Firebrand the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship is about the unlikely and long-lived friendship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Pauli Murray (black, lesbian social justice crusader). It's got a lot of historical insight, but also presents an angle from Murray's point of view that you don't often get in history. The author, Patricia Bell-Scott, is black as well.

I haven't read it yet, but First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower has been highly recommended to me.

Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: Vijaya on November 25, 2017, 10:50 AM
What about HIDDEN FIGURES? I haven't read it, though.

Loved this so much.

One of my favorite books is Nobel Prize Women in Science by Sharon McGrayne. It's not US history but in case he likes science, this is a wonderful book.

I've read several first person accounts of slavery: 12 Years a Slave was really good.

Something more recent. How about books by Condoleeza Rice? I have her autobiography.

Happy shopping!!!

Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: Mrs. Jones on November 25, 2017, 12:51 PM
Okay, I admit this is an AUTObiography, but I read it many years ago and will likely read it again at some point, I enjoyed it that much. I loved being immersed in her world of growing up and becoming a writer! 

Agatha Christie, An Autobiography.
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: dinalapomy101 on November 29, 2017, 07:48 AM
Will he do a memoir?
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Reyna Grande is powerful.
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: Betsy on November 30, 2017, 09:12 AM
I really enjoyed Trevor Noah's autobiography: BORN A CRIME:  Stories from a South African childhood. There's certainly a lot of history throughout, though not American history.
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: Barbara Etlin on November 30, 2017, 09:47 AM
Another vote for HIDDEN FIGURES. It was fascinating.
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: dewsanddamps on November 30, 2017, 10:43 PM
If he likes sports, maybe a bio of Jackie Robinson or Muhammad Ali. They both led interesting lives.

If he likes science, George Washington Carver or Rosalind Franklin (who discovered the double helix).

And bless you for noticing.  :goldstar

(I have a recommendation for a bio that's not what you're looking for right now, but Philip Freeman's Alexander the Great is a magnificent read--narrative history at its finest. He might enjoy expanding beyond the U.S., too. Maybe when he's read up on Jackie and Rosalind you can let him have it.)  :yup
Title: Re: Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color
Post by: christripp on December 01, 2017, 02:28 AM
Depending on how interesting he might find Beautiful Movie Stars of the past:) perhaps "Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World",  would interest him. I'm thinking of gifting this to myself actually:)